Gay Marriage

Libertarian Australian Senator Introduces Legislation to Recognize Same-Sex Marriage

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Want to hear a senator introduce legislation legalizing government recognition of same-sex marriage in a speech that also invokes the names of Milton Friedman, Friedrich Hayek, and Ludwing von Mises? You'll have to go to Australia for that, mate. Alternatively there's YouTube. Libertarian Australian Senator David Leyonhjelm, the sole representative of the country's Liberal Democratic Party (that's their libertarians), is introducing legislation to require the country to recognize same-sex marriages as legal. Here's his speech he gave yesterday on YouTube:

For those who can't watch, you can read his speech here. Some paragraphs relevant to lovers of liberty:

My political tradition, classical liberalism, has always drawn a strong distinction between the public and the private spheres. Indeed, that distinction can be traced back to the Ancient Greeks. Unfortunately, many people are aware of classical liberals only when they talk about economics. It is not well known, for example, that Milton Friedman—probably the 20th century's most influential economist—supported marriage equality. But a great libertarian economist's support for marriage equality should come as no surprise. It was economists like Friedman, Hayek and Mises who produced groundbreaking research showing that private individuals tend to make better choices for themselves than do experts engaged to decide on their behalf. Why then do we confine marriage choice to some people and deny it to others?

Support for marriage equality does not require or, indeed, imply approval of any particular marriage or marriage outcome. Nor does it open the door to bigamy, polyamory or any of the other dire consequences that some people predict will be the eventual outcome. It is not as if they will sneak up on us, either. For these to be legal, further changes in the law would be required, which would involve widespread public debate.

I support marriage equality because I think people ought to have the freedom to choose their own life path—that is, to have liberty. As John Stuart Mill said: 'Over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.' All my bill does is prevent the government from stopping two people from getting married on the grounds that they are not a man and a woman. It does nothing more, and requires nothing more than tolerance.

He has written the legislation in such a way that the state would have to solemnize same-sex marriages, but private sector ministers and the like could not be forced to do so if they object.

Whether the bill will actually get anywhere depends on Prime Minister Tony Abbott and the Liberal-National coalition of parties he represents. The Liberal Party in Australia would be considered center-right in our terms. The party's official stance is in opposition to recognizing same-sex marriage. Party discipline in Australia pushes hard for its members to vote the party line unless a "conscience vote" is permitted. Some parties are allowing conscience votes for (or against) gay marriage recognition, but the Liberal Party has not yet. Here's how The Guardian describes the politics involved:

Leyonhjelm said he aimed to trigger a Coalition decision on a conscience vote, but he would not move for the Senate to vote on the bill until he was confident it had majority support in the chamber.

"I had a meeting with the prime minister a few weeks ago and he made it plain his opposition to same-sex marriage; he is also not enthusiastic about me bringing this on," Leyonhjelm said on Wednesday.

"His argument was the government's got plenty of troubles without this one coming along. I wasn't convinced, so I decided to bring it forward."

Leyonhjelm said a conscience vote was not a matter for the prime minister to decide alone. Leyonhjelm said there was strong support within the Coalition for allowing a free vote, even among those who would ultimately vote against same-sex marriage.

A poll from July shows Australians strongly supporting same-sex marriage recognition at 72 percent. A higher percentage, 77 percent, want to allow Australia's MPs to have conscience votes on the matter.

Read my interview with Leyonhjelm about pushing for libertarian policies in Australia here

NEXT: The Endgame in King v. Burwell

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  1. Nor does it open the door to bigamy, polyamory or any of the other dire consequences that some people predict will be the eventual outcome.

    WHY NOT? I refuse to accept baby steps.

  2. All my bill does is prevent the government from stopping two people from getting married on the grounds that they are not a man and a woman.

    Yeah, just wait until the first wedding caterer refuses to put their shrimp on his barbie.

    1. “G’day mate – see ya in court…”

  3. Good for him.

    *rolls eyes*

  4. “His argument was the government’s got plenty of troubles without this one coming along. I wasn’t convinced, so I decided to bring it forward.”

    Everyone knows they can’t multitask down under.

    1. Plus, the terlet water swirls in the other direction. Or so I’ve been told.

  5. *notes it’s another country – does not read article out of parochial lack of giving a shit what Australia does*

    /limited range

  6. Libertarian Australian Senator David Leyonhjelm, the sole representative of the country’s Liberal Democratic Party (that’s their libertarians)…

    WHY CAN’T WE ALL USE THE SAME WORDS? And with the same number of U’s, while we’re on the subject.

    1. Colour me as in favour of your proposal

    2. Ok. We’ll use the proper amount of U’s, i.e. the Commonwealth amount of U’s. Best start changing your word processors now Americans. 😛

      1. Too inefficient. I say in addition to removing all us, we remove all vowels. Go straight Hebrew style.

      2. You misspelled “processours”.

    3. Eh, I kind of enjoy the irony of being a Liberal Democrat.

  7. Although this DOES present an opportunity to open “Big, Gay Al’s Big, Gay Dingo Ranch and Tarantula and Snake Emporium and Roller Coaster Park!”

    I’d visit that.

  8. Support for marriage equality does not require or, indeed, imply approval of any particular marriage or marriage outcome.

    I don’t know how Australia’s law handles the issue, but sadly, that’s not the case here in America. Not when the existence of a marriage recognized by the state entitles one to benefits provided by independent 3rd parties (at the very least, leaving aside protected classes, compulsory insurance coverage for the legal spouse, an issue made more relevant by the forthcoming employer mandate of the ACA), and where disapproval of some particular marriage or marriage outcome entails legal penalties.

    Separately, it’s not without a hint of irony that he references “marriage equality” while specifically stating that it won’t extend marriage benefits to those icky people that society doesn’t like. I can picture this guy in 1920: “The 19th Amendment will at last provide equal voting rights to everyone! But don’t worry, it’s not like we’re gonna let the niggers vote or anything…”

    1. Then keeping marriage heterosexual does not require or imply disapproval of homosexual relationships either.

  9. “Nor does it open the door to bigamy, polyamory or any of the other dire consequences that some people predict will be the eventual outcome.”

    It damn well better, or Concubines 1, 2, 4, and 7 aren’t going to be happy.

  10. “A poll from July shows Australians strongly supporting same-sex marriage recognition at 72 percent. ”
    Makes sense- that’s the percentage of the population who are sheep.

  11. First this, next they’ll be saying invisible furry hand can marry her kangaroos. Where does it end?

    1. Since its Australia, I guess it ends with death by anaphylactic shock.

  12. Nor does it open the door to bigamy, polyamory or any of the other dire consequences that some people predict will be the eventual outcome.

    Why not? And why are those “dire” consequences? What the fuck difference does it make to anyone else what a group of people does with their lives?

    1. For the state the consequences would be dire…

      The tax advantages granted to line marriages is huge, for example. The state takes a cut of pretty much every bit of property in the U.S. via the estate tax as levied by the probate system sooner or later. In a line marriage, however, since the marriage outlasts the participants, the community property can be indefinitely kept out of the greedy clutches of the state.

  13. Well as long as Milton Friedman was for it.

    1. Principals over principles, right Tonykins?

  14. So first he says the government should not discriminate among types of relationship, then he suggests that it *should!*

    The government should recognize a union between two sheilas, or two blokes, but not the marriage of one bloke and three sheilas, or a polyamorous relationship among Bob and Carroll and Ted and Alice.

    So his proposed law would embody discriminatory principles just as much as the existing law!

    So tell us against about John Stuart Mill and choosing one’s own life path.

    And I would presume his bill has clauses “permitting” businesses to choose their own customers and employees, at least in the SSM context?

    1. Not quite Eddy, I can see how the distinction escaped you because he switched the pea very adroitly.

      He said that his proposed bill wouldn’t open the door, because legalizing such relationships would require additional legislation. I assume that the language of his proposed bill limits the recognized family arrangements to ones with two adults.

      But, yes, his rationale would justify legislation legalizing marriages of more than two people.

      1. “I assume that the language of his proposed bill limits the recognized family arrangements to ones with two adults.”

        Why?

        1. I mean, why is it limited to *two* adults?

          1. I would expect to make it more likely it will pass.

            1. Yeah, on false pretenses.

              Just say, “gays are the flavor of the month and polygamists/polyamorists aren’t. So let’s extend government benefits to the former and not the latter.”

              Such a candid speech, unfortunately, would forfeit the moral high ground of “OMG how *dare* these SoCons discriminate among different relationships??!”

              1. Yeah, on false pretenses.

                How so Eddie?

                The bill says what the bill says. If the bill limits ‘marriage freedom’ to couples, then that’s what the bill does.

                False pretenses would be writing a bill that mandates the elimination of insurance policies while saying that no insurance policy will be canceled by this law. He isn’t doing it. He is articulating a principle and applying it to a narrow area.

                1. False pretenses would be to support your bill with a speech saying

                  “Why then do we confine marriage choice to some people and deny it to others?”

                  and then proposing a bill which confines marriage choice to some people (couples) while denying it to others (polyamorists and polygamists).

                  1. A false pretense, Eddie, is defined as:

                    False representation of fact or circumstance, calculated to mislead.

                    He describes what the bill does, and why he is proposing it. That’s not a false pretense. Unless the bill does different things than he represents it doing, what he is doing – making a philosophical argument that is only partially put into force by the bill he is proposing – isn’t a false pretense, any more than a guy saying “I think parents should pay for their children’s college” who sets up a fund that is insufficient to do it fully but is what he can afford is acting under false pretenses.

                    1. Match the bill, if you can, to the pretenses which support it:

                      “Why then do we confine marriage choice to some people and deny it to others?”

                      Since the SSM crowd is so big on interracial-marriage analogies:

                      Assume some Jim Crow legislator used this rhetoric to support legalizing marriages between whites and Native Americans, while keeping a ban on white/black or white/Asian marriages?

                    2. Just keep trying to hammer that round peg into that square hole Eddy. I’m sure you’ll convince a few rubes that it’s a good fit.

                      Oddly enough, if you had just said it’s hypocritical you wouldn’t have been wrong. But you seem determined to impute that he is behaving nefariously… tsk.

                    3. OK, he’s not nefarious (a word I didn’t actually use), he’s hypocritical.

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    ????? http://www.netjob70.com

  17. Problem: The king has a monopoly on the coining of dollars. The people are oppressed by this limit on the supply of money.

    Solution 1: Remove the king’s monopoly. Allow anyone to coin money, labeling it truthfully as to its silver content, if any.

    Solution 2: Have the king decree that the coins or other instruments of one or more particular bankers, regardless of their actual content of silver, are for all legal intents & purposes dollars, to be honored as such by all.

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